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Monday, September 25, 2023
Sept. 25, 2023

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Lake Sammamish floatplane crash victim identified as Bellevue man


SEATTLE — The man who died Friday when a floatplane crashed into Lake Sammamish has been identified as Anthony Jurcan, an owner of the plane.

Jurcan, 80, died of blunt-force injuries, the King County Medical Examiner’s Office said Monday. A second person was critically injured in the crash.

Jurcan co-owned and was certified to fly the Seawind 3000, a fixed-wing single-engine plane built from a kit. He had a private pilot’s license and a repairman certificate for the aircraft, which is required for a person who builds a major portion of the plane, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Jurcan lived in Bellevue, near the Lake Sammamish shoreline, according to an FAA registry.

He and the other person were the only occupants of the plane, which crashed shortly after 11 a.m. Friday, the Bellevue Fire Department said.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane take off and then go up and down multiple times and reach about 50 feet before it nose-dived into the water, BFD spokesperson Heather Wong said.

Boaters got to the wreckage, pulled out both people and brought them to shore, then started CPR until first responders arrived. Wong emphasized the importance of the people who came to their aid, and that they knew CPR.

“Their willingness to help out truly can’t be underplayed,” she said.

As of Monday morning, the other person in the plane was in the intensive care unit in serious condition at the University of Washington Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center spokesperson Susan Gregg said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, and the wreckage has been recovered to an off-site facility for further analysis, NTSB spokesperson Sarah Taylor Sulick said. A preliminary report will be available within two to three weeks.

Jurcan’s plane was substantially damaged in 2016 when it hit a Renton Municipal Airport runway sign as he attempted to land after the plane’s landing gear malfunctioned, according to an NTSB report. Jurcan and a passenger were nearing the end of a cross-country trip from Lakeport, Calif., to Lake Sammamish, when he realized the right landing gear indicator light was off and the hydraulic pressure read zero. He decided to land on the Renton runway, and when the plane touched down, it veered, slid along the grass and hit the airport sign. Neither he nor the passenger were injured.

The NTSB cited the cause as a failure of the landing gear system to fully retract or extend because of a cracked hydraulic fitting flare, resulting in loss of hydraulic pressure.

In a later interview with NTSB, Jurcan said he had purchased components needed for an emergency landing gear extension system and was in the process of repairing the airplane.